Oral Cancer Screening Wareham MA
Oral cancer may not be as well-known as other types of cancers, such as breast cancer or liver cancer, but it is still something you should be aware of. This type of cancer can be deadly if left untreated. In fact, in the United States, one person dies every hour from oral cancer, on average.
Why is oral cancer so deadly? Because it is often not detected until it is in its advanced stages. Once the cancer has reached that point about 60% of people will survive after five years.
Considering this, don’t you think it is important to get tested? The good news is that it is easy to do so. Your dentist can perform an oral cancer screening at your next dental checkup. The even better news is the fact that early detection of oral cancer can increase your survival rate by 80%.
An oral cancer examination is quick and easy. You should not feel any pain at all. Your dentist will visually and manually inspect your mouth, tongue, and lips for any abnormalities. The dentist is looking for sores or any other small changes in your oral tissues that may signify oral cancer. If the dentist finds anything abnormal, they will take a small tissue sample and send it to a lab for further testing.
Who’s at Risk?
In the past, middle-aged people were more likely to get oral cancer. However, younger people are now getting oral cancer at high rates due to the spread of the human papillomavirus (HPV16), a sexually transmitted disease.
There are other risk factors to consider. Those over the age of 40, those who smoke and those who drink heavily have a higher risk of developing the cancer. Chronic exposure to the sun can cause not only skin cancer but also lip cancer as well. This cancer can be caused by genetic factors as well.
To detect, the dentist will look inside your mouth and check for unusual sores or white or red patches. The dentist will use their fingers to feel for any lumps and swellings. A special dye or light may be used to assess any suspect areas. If the dentist finds anything abnormal, they can perform a biopsy.
Many abnormal sores or color changes in the oral tissues are benign. However, if you notice anything unusual that does not go away after 2-3 weeks, it should be examined by your dentist just to make sure. This cancer can only be diagnosed through a laboratory report. Since many cases of this cancer are not caught until the later stages, early diagnosis is your best defense. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Contact Us Today
You may not worry too much about oral cancer, but if you smoke, drink alcohol or have a genetic disposition to this disease, you face a higher risk. The dentists at Wareham Family Dental can assess your mouth and help you protect yourself. Schedule an oral cancer screening today by calling (508) 295-7476.